Can robotic technology bring neurological assessment into the 21st century?
Stephen H. Scott
Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Dept. of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6 Canada
Location: KITE, University Health Network, Toronto
Clinical assessment plays a crucial role in all facets of patient care, from diagnosing the disease or injury, to management of rehabilitation strategies to ameliorate dysfunction. However, most neurological assessment scales for sensorimotor function are subjective in nature with relatively coarse rating systems. Thus, small changes or minor impairments in neurological function, that may be important to injury/disease management, can go undetected.
For the last fifteen years, we have been exploring the potential of interactive robotics to objectively quantify brain function and dysfunction. This has led to the development of Kinarm Standard Tests, a broad-based assessment protocol that has been used in over 24 different neurological and non-neurological indications to provide essential information about the injury or disease. There are now over 100 Kinarm Labs in research institutions and hospitals around the world.
I will describe our suite of behavioural tasks to quantify sensory, motor and cognitive impairments associated with upper limb function in subjects with stroke and other injuries and diseases. I will highlight how this platform can provide a patient-centered approach to quantify brain dysfunction, track patterns of recovery and identify impairments associated with a number of neurological disorders/injuries even when traditional clinical measures cannot identify any impairments.
Stephen Scott holds the GSK Chair in Neuroscience and is a Professor in the Departments of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, and Medicine at Queen’s University. He has formal training in engineering and physiology, and uses this knowledge to explore how the brain controls our ability to move and interact in the environment as well as the use of robotic platforms to quantify brain function and dysfunction. A key to his research program is the development of robotic technology called Kinarm, that measures and modifies upper limb motor function. He co-founded and is Chief Scientific Officer of Kinarm, which commercializes this robotic technology for basic and clinical research.